The Microsoft HoloLens will be available in the UK before the end of the year with pre-orders starting today, the company has confirmed.
The self-proclaimed “world’s first holographic computer” has previously only been available in the US and Canada, where it launched in March, but will now be available in France, Germany, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Britain.
“Since the launch of HoloLens we have seen really passionate developers and world-class companies develop ground breaking computing experiences, experiences only possible on HoloLens,” said Alex Kipman, of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.
“Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”
The HoloLens was first introduced In January 2015 and Microsoft has been keen to stress the self-contained nature of the device, which is powered by Windows 10 and an Intel 32-bit processor working alongside a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that allows the device to understand gestures and gaze while mapping the world around the user, all in real time.
The display consists of see-through holographic lenses which use an advanced optical projection system to generate multi-dimensional full-colour holograms, which become richer and bigger the more light sources and radiants are detected.
Early commercial customers include Audi, thyssenkrupp, Airbus and NASA, the latter of which is using it to design spacecraft and rovers.
But if you want to get your hands on one, be prepared to shell out. A development edition of the device costs £2,719 and a commercial edition is an eye-watering £4,529. This compares to $3,000 (£2,445) and $5,000 (£4,075) in the US. In Euros, the device is even more expensive.
The company’s other mega-expensive device for business, the giant Surface Hub tablet, finaly shipped to customers earlier this year after multiple delays. Surface Hub is available in either 55 inch HD or 84 inch 4K editions, costing £7,399 and £18,299 respectively.
UPDATE: Microsoft explained to TechWeekEurope that the UK and Euro price for the HoloLens includes VAT, whereas the US cost does not. Sales tax in the US varies from state to state but should be cheaper across the pond than in the UK.
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